A first for the steel industry in the UAE and India

Back to Blockchain – Transforming the future of trade finance

HSBC fully commercialises blockchain trade finance with Universal Tubes & Tata Steel transaction

Dubai, UAE: HSBC has successfully executed a blockchain enabled, live trade finance transaction between Universal Tubes & Plastic Industries Ltd (UAE) and Tata Steel Ltd (India). This is a first for the steel industry in both the UAE and India and further validates the operational viability of blockchain as an alternative to conventional exchanges of paper-based documentation.

Contour blockchain platform enables end-to-end digitisation of the documentation required for Universal Tubes & Plastic Industries to import steel to the UAE from Tata Steel in India. HSBC is a founding shareholder in Contour and was the first bank to join the platform as a full production member back in December.

Sunil Veetil, Regional Head of Global Trade & Receivables Finance (GTRF) at HSBC, Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, said: “HSBC is pioneering the transformation of global trade finance using blockchain technology and with this transaction we are the first to connect both the physical and financial supply chains digitally in the steel industry. We are delighted with Universal Tubes’ and Tata Steel’s commitment to move future trade finance transactions to Contour. This commitment demonstrates that blockchain has come of age and reinforces the commercial and operational viability of the platform. We are confident this will pave the way for widespread adoption by other clients, counterparties and industries, many of whom we are already in talks with.”

Comprehensive digitisation of the heavily manual and paper-based trade finance processes cuts transaction times from 5-10 days down to under 24 hours – unlocking working capital and enabling more trade. Reduced transaction times will boost the efficiency of trade between the UAE and India, valued at around $60 billion, making the UAE India’s third largest trading partner.1 While the physical transfer of goods between India and UAE takes a relatively short time due to close proximity, the administrative paperwork can often impede delivery.

Anil Taurani, Managing Director, Universal Tubes & Plastic Industries Ltd, UAE, said: “The future of trade is digital and the success of this blockchain transaction has encouraged us to transition all our future Letter of Credit transactions to this solution. The speed, visibility, working capital efficiency and enhanced security it offers is a tremendous competitive advantage and opens up immense opportunities for us. Despite the involvement of multiple players, we found the entire experience seamless and transparent.”

Contour allows all parties to have visibility of the trade while also ensuring that no single organisation controls all the data. This ensures that banks, importers and exporters have improved visibility without compromising security.

[Spokesperson], [Tata Steel] said: “Optimisation of working capital is a critical component in our business operations and our successful transaction makes clear blockchain’s potential. We’ve been hugely impressed by the functionality of the platform, the power of the network and the partnership approach of all involved. As an organisation steeped in innovation, we’re always looking for ways to increase our agility and we’re excited to fully transition to this solution for all our Letter of Credit transactions.”

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